Welcome to the network! It's so exciting to launch this site and the network, and we can't wait to see how members are going to contribute to its growth and development.
The first conference, Captivating Criminality: Crime Fiction, Darkness and Desire, held at Bath Spa University in April 2014, was such a success, and many delegates asked how they could keep in touch with new friends, continuing and developing dialogues that had started over those few days. Of course, the initial answer to that is, let's have another conference next year! Thanks to Bath Spa, that was no problem and I duly booked the Court again for this June. The second Captivating Criminality conference, Crime Fiction, Traditions and Transgressions, took place at our beautiful Corsham Court campus, on 25-27th June, 2015. With even more delegates than in 2014, fantastic keynote speakers, a huge range of fascinating papers, and a fabulous welcome by Bath Spa's Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Sammells (himself a fan of crime fiction), we really couldn't have wished for a more academically fulfilling and enjoyable conference.
In the year between the two conferences however, I began to think about what it might mean to go beyond the calls for papers, and the conference website, and start something that allowed people to join, to contribute to a forum, to share news and ideas, and to continue those discussions - OK not in the bucolic surroundings of Corsham Court and instantly popular local haunts such as The Methuen Arms and The Royal Oak maybe, but online, linking former delegates and new members together from across the world. So that's why I decided to set up this forum, along with Dr. Agnieszka Sienkiewicz-Charlish from the University of Gdansk, whose initial conference there back in 2012 was so enjoyable that I started to think of ways that we could come together to form an academic European-based umbrella of conferences exploring the fascinating world of crime fiction.
This year's wonderful and very successful conference cemented my belief that the network would fill a gap that I believe exists in the study and discussion of crime fiction from an academic perspective. The wonderful keynote speakers who volunteered their time and their wisdom this year, Professor Mary Evans, Stav Sherez and Paul Johnston (the former a respected academic with a background in sociology, the latter two erudite and theoretically informed creative writers) inspired the delegates who wanted to discuss their ideas further than was possible in such a short time period - this network provides a place for those discussions to continue.
Dr. Fiona Peters is Reader in Crime Fiction at Bath Spa University in the UK. She is a Patricia Highsmith scholar and is director of the Captivating Criminality project.